More than 50 people on Nov. 5 participate in the inaugural Gratitude Walk in Chico. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Every organized walk has a purpose beyond walking. It’s usually to raise money for some worthy cause. But when, if ever, have you walked with the purpose being gratitude?

Saturday was the first time for me. It’s not that I haven’t been grateful for being able to walk, to be with the people or dogs I was with—or even alone, or even in the environment I found myself in. What made this different is that it was called Gratitude Walk.

Chico resident Crystal Lively made the years’ long idea become a reality on Nov. 5. She told the Enterprise-Record, “The goal is to bring gratitude to the hearts and minds of each of us individually and together collectively.”

This city could use some healing, which in turn means everyone in it could use a dose of gratitude. I have never seen such vile political propaganda mailers. It was bad, really bad. This hateful crap involved local City Council and school board elections.

Besides this being election week, Nov. 8 marked the four-year anniversary of the Camp Fire which decimated the town of Paradise and in turn seems to have forever changed Chico with the migration of people and influx of problems the city wasn’t ready to handle.

Kae, Priscilla and Cleo at the “love” station along the walk.

So, it’s easy to see why someone would find it in their heart to want to focus on gratitude, if only for a morning.

The Chico Area Interfaith Council is one of the three financial beneficiaries of the event. A tag on bottles of water at the event said the following:

“The Interfaith Council Believes:

  • You do not have to be wrong for me to be right.
  • Our diversity makes us unique and beautiful.
  • To love God is good enough, and the path to that love should not cause disunity.
  • There can be unity in diversity.
  • Shine in your unique way and love all of humankind.”

While I’m not religious, it is hard not to agree with the sentiments being conveyed.

(Other groups receiving part of the proceeds include Friends of Bidwell Park and North Valley Community Foundation,)

Along the route in Lower Bidwell Park were different “stations” including: peace, joy, love, connection, harmony, compassion, community and grateful.

It was the “connection” stop that had us pause on a bridge crossing the creek. Facing one direction we were to open our arms and silently get rid of at least some of the negativity in our life. Walking to the other side we were again told to outstretch our arms and “embrace” the good we want to hold onto.

It’s amazing how I actually felt lighter as I consciously said to myself the negatives I wanted to let go of. I want to remember that feeling so I don’t let that negative aspect of my life consume such a large chunk of my consciousness, thus impacting my well (or not) well being.

Yes, I really do believe in positive affirmations.

I have a ton of gratitude for Priscilla and mom inviting me on this walk.

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